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Three Strangers (1946)

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Ratings: 7.0/10 from 912 users  
Reviews: 31 user | 13 critic

Three strangers, each with a serious problem in their lives, share a sweepstakes ticket which they wished upon together before a Chinese idol.

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(original screenplay), (original screenplay)
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
Crystal Shackleford
...
Johnny West
...
Icey Crane
Robert Shayne ...
Bertram Fallon
Marjorie Riordan ...
Janet Elliott
Arthur Shields ...
Prosecutor
Rosalind Ivan ...
Lady Rhea Belladon
John Alvin ...
Junior Clerk
Peter Whitney ...
Timothy Delaney aka Gabby
...
David Shackleford
Clifford Brooke ...
Senior Clerk
Doris Lloyd ...
Mrs. Proctor
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Storyline

According to a legend, if three strangers gather before an idol of Kwan Yin (the Chinese goddess of fortune and destiny) on the night of the Chinese New Year and make a common wish, Kwan Yin will open her eyes and her heart and grant the wish. In London 1938 on the Chinese New Year, Crystal Shackleford has such an idol and decides to put the legend to the test. She picks two random strangers off the street, and puts the proposition to them. They decide that an ideal wish would be for a sweepstakes ticket they buy equal shares in to be a winner. After all, everyone needs money and a pot is very easy to divide equally, right? Written by Ken Yousten <kyousten@bev.net>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

BREATHTAKING SUSPENSE - THRILLS! (original ad - all caps)

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Thriller

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

28 January 1946 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

3 Desconhecidos  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

According to Robert Osborne of TCM, this film was at one point intended to be a sequel to "The Maltese Falcon." Following the success of that film, Warner Bros. wanted to make a sequel. Falcon write/director John Huston said he'd previously written an un-filmed scrip for Warner Bros. that would be appropriate and would only required the character names to be changed to the Humphrey Bogart, Sydney Greenstreet and Mary Astor characters. However, Warner Bros. discovered they did not own the rights to the characters except for their appearance in "The Maltese Falcon." See more »

Quotes

Johnny West: You know about the psyche?
Icey Crane: Psyche?
Johnny West: It's what makes human beings of us.
Icey Crane: Is that a fact?
Johnny West: That's a fact. Uh, something is missing from me. Do you know how it is with a man who loses his leg and how the leg he hasn't got itches, and he goes to scratch?
Icey Crane: Mmmmm.
Johnny West: It's like that with the missing portion of my psyche anatomy. Whenever it itches, I take a drink. Tonight it's itching like the Devil.
See more »

Soundtracks

Waltz in A Flat Major, Op. 39
(uncredited
Music by Johannes Brahms
Played on the piano by Johnny
See more »

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User Reviews

A handsomely mounted, ironic thriller devoid of emotional resonance
27 April 2003 | by (Western New York) – See all my reviews

Why is Three Strangers, a 1946 movie, set in the London in 1938? There's nothing in the story that links it to a particular time. But in 1938, Britain had yet to be drawn into the long and arduous war to come, when gallantry and self-sacrifice were the orders of the day. The characters in Three Strangers are mirthlessly ungallant and single-mindedly self-absorbed; relegating them to the fool's paradise of the year before all hell broke loose was a diplomatic courtesy.

But a movie centered around three unappealing characters presents another, more immediate problem: The problems they bring on themselves do not compel much sympathy. The movie opens before midnight as the Chinese New Year is about to strike. Geraldine Fitzgerald has been trolling the streets to bring two strangers (Sydney Greenstreet and Peter Lorre) back to her flat. Her quest is not sexual but ritualistic: The Chinese goddess of fortune, a statue of whom graces her drawing room, requires the gathering of three persons unknown to one another before she will grant her annual wish. When all the conditions and codicils have been duly haggled over, the three agree to wish for a winning sweepstakes ticket.

Then they part ways to return to their separate hells. The grasping, manipulative Fitzgerald has driven away her husband, who returns from Canada with a young woman he wants to marry. The avaricious Greenstreet, a solicitor, has been plundering his clients' accounts to speculate in stocks. The alcoholic Lorre (by default the least offensive of the trio) finds himself on death row for a policeman's murder committed by one of his low-life friends who framed him. Their individual stories unfold and, in ironies reminiscent of de Maupassant or O. Henry, ultimately reconverge. As expected, Jean Negulesco directs handsomely but can't overcome the emotional vacuum in John Huston's script: The fates of these three strangers leave us cold.


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